Accidentally Washed Dishes With Laundry Detergent?

By - Hs Saini

Updated -

Published -

Are all detergents the same? Of course not; we can’t lump them together in one basket.

Despite this, it isn’t surprising to use it for a purpose it was never meant for.

There are a few ways to correct using the wrong type of detergent to wash dishes in this particular case.

Accidentally washing dishes with laundry detergent is solved by rinsing the dishes thoroughly with clean water, making sure they are squeaky clean and have no slippery feel. You could also use hot water to rinse, pour it into a tub, and sink the plates inside. If the water doesn’t produce bubbles, you can set them out to dry; if it does make bubbles, change the water and rinse again. Repeat the process till the water is clear.

Is Laundry Detergent Really Toxic?

Yes, many such laundry detergents contain toxic chemicals.

The toxic ingredients used in manufacturing these Laundry detergents are over 25, and other minor toxicities may be inadvertently present as byproducts. 

These detergents, which are usually marketed with catchy words like ‘brightening,’ ‘whitening,’ ‘spotless,’ have toxins that create the effect of the words, as mentioned earlier.

If exposed to these toxins over a long period, it won’t be shocking when adverse health effects develop. So let’s take a look at some troubling examples of such toxins.

#1. Phosphates

These are builders that lessen the hardness of water, making it easier for the detergent to wash laundry.

Phosphates can be harmful when laundry water is disposed of in places that can cause nutrient pollution, mineral poisoning, and pollute water bodies.

They also feed algae – which can produce poison itself and cause sickness in people and animals.

#2. Bleach

The primary purpose of bleach is to brighten whites. Bleach causes acidic burns when it comes in contact with your skin or eyes.

Its fumes are also toxic and can create all sorts of respiratory problems.

#3. Dioxane

Dioxane appears in detergent as an unwanted byproduct of a process called ethoxylation.

It is also a carcinogen, which is terrible, as high exposure can destroy cells in the kidney, liver, and respiratory system.

#4. Formaldehyde

This serves as an anti-bacterial and preservative agent in laundry detergents; unfortunately, it has been classed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a class B1 probable carcinogen. Exposure to this chemical can create an incidence of lung and nasopharyngeal cancer.

#5. Fragrance

Yes, shocking, right? The fragrance adds a sweet scent to the clothes, you might say, but it also has its demerits.

Artificial fragrances can trigger allergic reactions and rashes on the skin. They can also lead to wounds on the lungs due to the constant inhaling of such aroma.

Is It Dangerous To Use Laundry Detergent In A Dishwasher?

Is It Dangerous To Use Laundry Detergent In A Dishwasher 1

Yes, there are dangerous health consequences to using laundry detergent in a dishwasher.

The numerous toxins in detergents could be easily consumed when using these dishes, and this might cause health issues.

It is also inadvisable because the accumulation of lather in the dishwasher can damage the machine.

Furthermore, laundry detergents create more foam which can stop water from reaching the dishes.

They also have unique fragrances and brighteners that contain synthetic crusts intended for the pleasant scent of clothes.

This synthetic crust can stain dishes, and I promise you that they don’t come off quickly when washing; now, I’m sure you don’t want that.

Additionally, chemicals in these laundry detergents can become very toxic gases when heated.

These gases can cause serious problems when inhaled; they are meant for washing machines and not dishwashing.

Finally, dish soaps can run out quickly as we have to use them almost daily.

Capacity (CuFt) = Height (ft)×Width (ft) ×Depth (ft) 



#1. Bar soap

Bar soaps have been in existence for a long time, and it’s safe to use for dishes. It might leave some residue on the dishes, but this is easily solved by rinsing the dishes properly.

#2. Hand soap

Hand soaps too can be used as an alternative. However, with glycerin being one of the contents of liquid hand soap, it is tender on the skin; it also lathers better when used with hot water.

#3. Baking soda

Baking soda can be an excellent substitute for dish soap with hot water. It absorbs grease quickly and forms a gel that you can use to wash off food stains.

What Happens When You Put Laundry Detergent In Dishwasher?

What Happens When You Put Detergent In Dishwasher 1

Laundry Detergent in a dishwasher is terrible news. First, it forms lots of lather or foam; this foam will rise and overspill onto the floor.

When you continue using detergent, foam scum will accumulate and ultimately damage the dishwasher.

If one has used laundry detergent in the dishwasher, here is a guide on cleaning the dishwasher.

Turn off the dishwasher and cancel the wash cycle. Once the process is canceled, it should start draining the lather away, although not everything will drain.

Next, you should take out the dishes and set them aside. You can choose to rewash them or rinse them while your dishwasher is draining.

After the dishwasher has drained, rinse it out to get rid of the lather and soap scum, fill the dishwasher with clear water.

If there are no bubbles in the appliance, drain the water. For example, take out all the drawers from the dishwasher and use a dry towel to clean the remaining water.

Turn on the rinse cycle to wash out any residue when this is done. This should leave the dishwasher in perfect condition.

Be sure to use the detergent recommended for the dishwasher when using the machine.

What’s The Difference Between Dish Soap And Laundry Detergent?

The elements that differentiate dish soap from laundry detergent are the amount of pH concentration, absence of bleach, and the types of surfactants used in either of them.

PH concentration is the measure of hydrogen ions in a solution. A solution with many hydrogen ions is acidic and has a low pH value.

On the other hand, a solution with many hydroxide ions is essential and has a high pH value.

Bleach is a chemical that cleanses stains by converting them into colorless and soluble particles that are easily washed by detergents.

Surfactants are compounds that decrease the surface tension between two liquids, say oil and water.

There is an absence of bleach in dish soaps. Also, dish soaps use combinations of surfactants that are harmless to the skin and maintain neutral pH.

They also use sodium Laureth sulfates, which make lather form. However, laundry products balance being harsher than dish soaps but mild enough for clothes, fabric, and dyes.

There is also the presence of enzymes in laundry detergent, and they deal with the various stains from wine stains, grease, sauce, oil, and so on.

In addition, dish soap characteristically has additives manufactured to keep your hands soft when doing dishes.

On the other hand, laundry detergent has builders and softeners that stop clothing from wrinkling and a static-free state.

You can also find bleach in laundry detergents and fragrances that make the clothes scent after washing.

How Do You Get Laundry Detergent Out Of Dishes?

How Do You Get Laundry Detergent Out Of Dishes 1

Ensure that you rinse the dishes vigorously to eliminate any residue from the laundry detergent.

To prevent its unintentional consumption, you have to make sure no laundry detergent composition is left on the dishes.

Laundry detergents usually have what is referred to as ‘laundry musk.’ This substance’s purpose is to maintain a fresh laundry scent on clothes for a long time.

This laundry musk can unsettle the body’s immunity against other toxic chemical encounters. Consequently, it is crucial to get rid of laundry detergents from dishes.

You can wash the dishes repeatedly with dish soap then use hot water to rinse to be thorough. Ensure that the dishes dry before using them again.


It is not advisable to use laundry detergents for dishes. Instead, rinse dishes thoroughly with hot water to remove all residue if this happens unintentionally.

The presence of harmful toxins like bleach, formaldehyde, dioxin, and phosphates in laundry detergents makes them dangerous to use for washing dishes.

Detergents form too much lather making it unfit for use in the dishwasher.

The difference between dish soap and laundry detergent comes from the absence or presence of bleach, pH concentration, and surfactants.


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